In April, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (MCP) presents Toward the Unknown Region, a concert about boldly stepping out of these uncertain times with bold optimism and a sense of renewal.
At 114 years old, MCP is the city’s most famous choir. Composed of around 120 singers, it is led by Robert Page’s musical director, Matthew Mehaffey. With its 2021-’22 season, the choir returns to performances after more than a year.
MCP’s April concert will feature two dynamic works for choir: Toward the Unknown Region by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Jonathan Dove’s blistering song cycle The Passing of the Year, which features a long, thought-provoking solo piano part. magnificent. The concert will also feature music from Jocelyn Hagen, Ellen Gilson Voth and others.
Mehaffey notes that the two major works featured in the concert incorporate texts by prominent poets, including Whitman, Blake, Tennyson and Dickinson.
“Using a variety of highly charged and hypnotic rhythms and textures of piano and chorus, The Passing of the Year charts a journey through the seasons, from the anticipation of summer and its scorching arrival, to the feeling of autumn mortality, ending in winter with the promise of rebirth and hope to come,” he says.
“Toward the Unknown Region, one of the composer’s early works, captures the sense of youthful adventure when embarking on a new journey. It begins with murky and uncertain harmonies and culminates with an uplifting new theme on Whitman’s lines ‘Then we burst’ forward we float, through time and space/ O soul, prepared for them, equal, equipped at last…'”
Mehaffey adds, “Both works are meant to inspire hope and courage amid our uncertain times. The program will be complemented by a variety of other pieces, both ancient and modern.”
To the Unknown Region:
Saturday April 2, 2022 | 7:30 p.m. Hillman Center for the Performing Arts, Shadyside Academy
Sunday April 3, 2022 | 2:30 p.m. Westminster Presbyterian Church, Upper St. Clair
$30 General Admission $15 Student (with ID) FREE – children 12 and under
Tickets can be purchased at this link.
Proof of vaccination is required for entry to all concerts. Children under 12 and guests who require reasonable accommodations due to a medical exception or sincere religious belief must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the past 72 hours. Masks will be required of all patrons whenever Allegheny County is within the CDC’s “substantial” or “high” community transmission levels.